Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula’s Department of Defence (DoD) roundly condemned “faceless rogue elements” who apparently used the Minister’s name as well as those of the DoD and the SA Army in yet another public service tender scam riding on the back of the national state of disaster.
DoD head of communication Siphiwe Dlamini, on the moral high ground as a senior government communicator, said in a statement: “These fraudsters have gone beyond using not only DoD letterheads but are now using the name of the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans”.
The indignant response follows the DoD being alerted to “yet another fraudulent request for tender (RFT) document using official logos of the DoD and the SA Army”. The fake document seeks to acquire 45 000 face masks for Mapisa-Nqakula’s department.
“The Ministry and DoD distance the Minister and all entities in her portfolio from this request. The use of the Minister’s name is an attempt to steal from government and the department and an indication how desperate fraudsters have become in attempts to steal from the people of South Africa. The Ministry and the Department condemn in the strongest possible terms such behaviour from any quarter.
“The Ministry takes a dim view of such behaviour and states the Minister has nothing to do with procurement of any goods or services or calling for procurement of PPEs in the department. It is well-known that as the department executive authority, the Minister is not involved in procurement and operational matters.
“We condemn the abuse of the name of the Minister in an attempt to defraud the department and government,” Dlamini said.
In April the DoD warned South African businesses against scammers pretending to be representatives from the DoD. The Department said it had noticed opportunistic scammers taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic pretending to be representatives of the DoD requesting personal protective equipment to be delivered at the offices of the department.
President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is Commander-in-Chief of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF), last week named a committee of ministers to deal with what government’s new agency called “allegations of corruption associated with South Africa’s response to the coronavirus pandemic”.
The newest addition to government-led anti-corruption entities will be chaired by Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola. Its brief includes corruption in procurement of goods and services sourced to contain and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Personal protective equipment (PPE) such as that apparently sought by the fake and faceless tender offers for the DoD fall within the new Committee of Ministers.
The other committee members are Jackson Mthembu (The Presidency), Tito Mboweni (Finance), Bheki Cele (Police), Senzo Mchunu (Public Service and Administration) and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs).